Art & Poetry in Medicine, Featured
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Vanessa Velez, MD (2021)
pen and markers on paper


At the turn of every corner
I will be found out
You will see
The fraud in me
The constant necessity
Of performance and relentless false identity

Always peering in your mind
Trying to predict what you think
Trying to control what you see

However, overthinking gets in the way
Of me thinking
Stumbling in thought
Skipping vowels, consonants
Scattered and disconcerted
Missed harmonies, off tune symphonies

This white coat is too heavy
I can’t seem to hide behind this cloak
Dr. and MD suffocating the letters of my name
The title and degree that were once a dream
Now I’m just collecting medical abbreviations
Unbalanced circuitry

Chalk it up to luck and hard work.
Cause I’m just dumb and it’s all f*cked.
And I don’t feel like I belong.
Constantly tense, on edge
At it’s worse, suicidal
Nervous system ramped up
Body can’t relax
Maybe being ‘gifted and talented’ did me in
Because now what’s left is tremendous fear and shame
Feeling that I don’t deserve to be here
Not giving myself credit
I’m not the only one

Trying to fit in a box


With time and practice
I turn the corner
No longer chasing external validation
Glimpses of levity

The truth comes in
My sense of worthiness comes from within
My internal point of reference

Unlearning the learned
Remembering the forgotten
Accepting my entirety
Vulnerabilities and frailties

Life Long Discovery Of
Who am I really?
Co-creating wild and free

Holding all my parts
In the Great Mystery
Feeling what is alive!

What no longer serves me begins to slowly slip away
Layers of old beliefs peel away
Societal and self-imposed pressures come and let go

Seeing what I couldn’t see before
My humanness and Divinity
My innate beingness
Deep whole hearted listening

I trust in the creative play
I explore the curious day
Sharing this today

Creating culture and community
Coming into our own equanimity
Calling in silliness, humor and levity

No box to exist

Vanessa Velez, MD Vanessa Velez, MD (1 Posts)

Resident Physician Contributing Writer

Hackensack Meridian Health Ocean Medical Center

Vanessa Velez is a resident physician in psychiatry at Hackensack Meridian Health Ocean Medical Center in Brick, NJ.